New Coach Warburton Calls for ''Cool Heads'' From Six Nations Holders Wales

Sam Warburton joined the national team set-up in November, becoming Wales’ first-ever specialist breakdown coach
13:52, 15 Jan 2020

Sam Warburton hung up his boots at the age of 29 and is now immersing himself in the world of coaching.

And at the age of 31, already his outlook is changing. He was the all-action flanker who roamed the rugby pitch, smashing opposition players and often dominating the breakdown battle.

World Cups, The Six Nations, British and Irish Lions tours, he’s been there, he’s seen it all and wore the captain's armband. And now he's become a coach, he's calling on his players to have "cool heads".

Wharburton made 74 appearances for Wales during an eleven-year playing career, his experience will prove vital for his new charges and he’s passing on his expertise having learnt the hard way. Nobody in Wales will forget his infamous red car in the 2011 World Cup semi-final against France. 

“The big thing I want to teach is efficiency,” he told The Guardian. “You’ve got to be physical but rather than flying into 30 breakdowns I’d rather you be effective in 15.

“In 2014 I dislocated my shoulder in the 79th minute of a game against Scotland which we’d already won. 

“I went flying in to finish them off, because it was just the way I was. I ended up being out for six months. 

“As Shaun [Edwards] said: ‘Sometimes, mate, you need to look at the scoreboard and keep a cool head.’”

While calling for sensibility, Warburton, who is Wales’ first-ever specialist breakdown coach, is keen for the Welsh mindset to change further.

The Six Nations kicks off at the start of February and Wales will be desperate to defend their crown after last year’s success. However, Warburton has called for the nation to be bolder going into the tournament.

“I hear people in Wales saying: ‘We don’t like being favourites, we’re better off being the underdogs.’ 

“To me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s somebody who doesn’t want pressure because they don’t thrive off it. I want to have the tag of defending grand slam champions. Anyone who has been successful would probably think that way.

“I want to be king of the jungle,” he said. “I want the pressure. I want to be top of the food chain, I want people to be chasing our tails. I want us to be the standard-bearers, the ones people are aspiring to be.”

Wales begin their Six Nations campaign at home to Italy on February 1 before going to the Aviva Stadium to play Ireland a week later.

After hosting France the Welsh take on England at Twickenham ahead of playing Scotland.

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